Tomorrow is a big day! A momentous day where we all wear our membership pins with pride; a day where hearty congratulations and words of good will shall spring forth from the lips of Sons of Norway members everywhere because tomorrow is Sons of Norway’s Founders’ Day!
That’s right, 121 years ago 18 Norwegian immigrants who had started a new life in Minneapolis MN came together to create a group that would protect those in their community from times of financial hardship, while keeping their Norwegian culture alive in their newly adopted country. It’s a story that is fairly well known in Sons of Norway and celebrated every January 16 by lodges throughout North America and Norway.
This year is a little different, though. Instead of retelling the story of our Founders I am going to celebrate Founders’ Day by sharing something amazing with you. Thanks to the donation of a very, very dedicated Sons of Norway member, we recently came into possession of a book; really more of an old ledger. You know the kind, I’m sure. A black, textured cover, with red cloth binding, that is very long and narrow. In an era long gone by a ledger like this would have been used to document sales and expenditures, customer names, etc.
The ledger I’m talking about, though, is so much more than a balance sheet or a receipt book. The one I’m talking about, the one that is sitting on my desk right now as I type this, illustrates the earliest days of Sons of Norway! That’s right, within the pages of this dusty ledger are the hand-written lists of our earliest leaders and the notes from the first Sons of Norway meeting ever—on January 16, 1895!
This is such an amazing document and allows us the unique opportunity to peek into our own history and learn about the earliest meetings, who was involved and some of the choices they had to make in order to begin building something that would stand the test of time.
I hope you will take a moment and reflect on these images, the names on the pages and the ripple effect they have had through more than a century, resulting in something that positively affects each of our lives today.
Happy Founders Day!